Food & Feast in Medieval England by Peter Hammond
In this unique and fascinating book Peter Hammond examines the extraordinary range of food which found its way onto the tables of medieval English society, its production and distribution. Although bread, ale, meat and fish were staples, fish often came from as far away as Iceland, and as early as 1480 over 100,000 oranges were being imported to augment the English diet. Every aspect of medieval food is described here from hunting, fish-breeding, brewing and baking to hygiene, storage and the way in which the food supply of a large household was organised. The nutritional value of the food is evaluated in order to consider how well fed the people were, and there are details of the elaborate regulations that existed on the serving of food in great households. The book concludes with an examination of medieval feasts, such as that held at York on 26 December 1251, which took six months to prepare and saw the consumption of no fewer than than 68,500 loaves of bread, 170 boars and 25,000 gallons of wine. Firmly based on archaeological and documentary evidence, this book provides a fascinating introduction to a vital but often neglected topic of medieval life.